Americans Want Change
The Bush-Quayle campaign might be wise to employ Jacqueline Madison as a speech writer. Her letter (Aug. 9) is a good outline of their probable strategy: Make a list of all the things that are negatives for your own campaign and accuse the other guys of those things before they do it to you.
Facts are unnecessary; accusations are all you need. Unfortunately for the country, this can be an effective tactic.
She says that "most Americans are desperately calling for less government." That may be true of most ultra-right wingers who ** want to keep things just as they are, but the overwhelming majority seem to be calling for leadership and change from the government, not abdication. They're tired of the rich getting richer at their expense.
What they are desperately calling for is jobs, not trickle-down economics. They want universal health care, not $500 billion bailouts of sleazy fast-buck artists.
Everyone wants reform of the welfare system, just as Ms. Madison does, but jobs have to be created first, as well as better educational opportunities. For the past two years, jobs haven't even been available for college graduates; how can the millions of poorly educated people in the urban ghettos be expected to find them?
The major legacies of the Reagan/Bush "revolution" are paralyzing deficits (from the balanced budget amendment guys), extensive homelessness (and executive multi-millionaires), deterioration of race relations and intense divisiveness, environmental degradation, an enormous trade deficit, and the virtual bankrupting of states and cities by withdrawal of financial support and by policies which accelerate the flight of the wealthy to the suburbs.
The Rehnquist/Scalia Supreme Court has carried out a ferocious attack against individual rights, even thought Ms. Madison says hers is the "party of individual freedom." All of these problems are much worse than they were 12 years ago.
Perhaps most damaging of all is the Reagan/Bush encouragement of the attitude that all taxes are bad, that the government just wastes them anyway, and that it's morally right to oppose them.
As Carl Rowan said in an eloquent column, taxes are an investment in America. It's our country; it's a wonderful place to live, but it won't continue to be if we don't support it.
We have to make certain the taxes are spent wisely, by careful selection of those we send to Washington or Annapolis, but it is foolish to avoid the investment.
If we continue to let our infrastructure deteriorate, lay off firemen and police and let our schools go down the tubes, we will find the cost is much greater in the long run. We will be cheating ourselves and our children.
No Quick Fix and No Pandering
Peter Frank's Aug. 9 Perspective article on Blue Cross of Maryland left an unfair impression of the July 28 legislative hearing before the House Committee on Economic Matters.
While it is true that Insurance Commissioner John Donaho testified for 20 minutes and Blue Cross spent four hours before our committee, the hearing was certainly not a "missed opportunity," as Mr. Frank stated.
He also wrongly suggests that the hearing was a "missed opportunity" for lawmakers to acquire "clear and deep understanding of the structure of health insurance and health care."
No single hearing can reasonably be expected to achieve that lofty goal. Rather, it is through hard work over time which provides lawmakers the wisdom for which he correctly believes we should strive.
Our committee has spent virtually hundreds and hundreds of hours exploring the important and difficult area of health insurance.
I dare say my committee has a "clearer and deeper understanding of the structure of health insurance and health care" than any other public body in Maryland.
The insurance commissioner is part of the executive branch of government; we are the legislative branch. We have no control over whether he speaks for two hours or two days.
Commissioner Donaho regularly appears before our committee since we have primary jurisdiction over insurance legislation in the House of Delegates. He has always cooperated fully with our committee.
The commissioner is a full-time regulator charged with the everyday nuts and bolts of regulating all insurance companies in Maryland.
To date the commissioner has made no unfulfilled
recommendations to our committee for any changes in state law or the regulation of health insurance companies like Blue Cross.
He gave us no indication of the explosive and inflammatory allegations which he recently made to a committee of the U.S. Senate.
Those allegations clearly implied emergency-type solvency problems regarding Blue Cross on the one hand and the lack of and need for responsible legislative action on the part of my committee.
For these precise reasons I called for an immediate public hearing (I might add, with some resistance from Blue Cross, probably for its fear of undermining public confidence).